Waterfalls Everywhere – Plitvice National Park, Croatia
Although Kim and I were impressed by Krka, Plitvice National Park blew our minds. After figuring out the parking, tickets, and entrance shenanigans (why is it always so confusing?) we boarded a bus to start our day at the upper falls.
At the beginning of the hike, it seems like a serene park, with a beautiful lake full of ducks and fish.
As we turned a bend on the path, we suddenly heard the roar of the falls. There are so many waterfalls in this park that you grow numb to the constant noise.
The park is so fun to walk because there are boardwalks right over the falls and across lakes throughout the park. Of course, if you get stuck behind slow people or a really big tour group on one of these narrow paths, you just have to hang around and take pictures while you wait.
Some of the nature we saw along the way:
At one point we climbed up into a cave where a unique scorpion hangs out, which I’m almost relieved that we didn’t see! We did get a break from all the noise and even though it was a workout, climbing the steps was worth it for the silence and a different view.
Can you get tired of waterfalls? I have to admit that at each new fall, I was a little less impressed. Once we took a boat down the lake to the bigger falls, however, I perked up again. The sun started to peek through the clouds and the water’s color shifted from dark to all kinds of greens and blues. Every blue-green shade you can imagine, from turquoise to cerulean to jade, could be found. I started thinking about a box of 64 crayons, which I was so proud to own as a kid, and how in just this tiny piece of earth nature far surpassed Crayola’s impressive offerings.
When we reached the largest falls of the park, we quickly decided to hike up some stairs in order to escape a huge group of squealing schoolkids. It was a difficult climb, but worth it for what Kim had described as a cheater view (she thought that the picture on the brochure was definitely taken by a helicopter).
After a day’s hiking, we returned to our hotel for showers and a nap. Then we went in search of dinner. The night before we had a really impressive meal at our inn, but we could barely even attack the entree plate, so to save some euros, we decided to go out. Of course we’re in the middle of nowhere, Croatia, at 8 o’clock at night. Every little town along the road had tons of inns or b&bs, but no restaurants. We turned around a few times and backtracked to the only restaurant near the park’s entrance. At first they showed us the cafeteria line, where every offering looked positively dismal. We decided to go a la carte in the actual restaurant. I just wanted soup and salad, and Kim ordered grilled squid. The waitress asked me a few questions in Croatian, which since I didn’t understand I just nodded my head. It turned out we ordered two squid entrees, and my salad came on the side. Although I would never think to order squid in the middle of a forest in Croatia, it was the best either of us had ever had! Sometimes these things just work out.